We all know them, have either heard of them, been in them or living through them everyday.
By definition, “a toxic relationship is a relationship characterised by behaviours on the part of the toxic partner that are emotionally and, not infrequently, physically damaging to their partner. A toxic relationship is characterised by insecurity, self-centredness, dominance, control.”
That’s a lot to take in, right?
Over the past weeks I have had this topic circulating in my head and I’m not too sure why. But its fascinating to me the type of situations we can find ourselves in – whether we mean to or not! And I suppose this is where this idea of relationships those that are good, bad, non existing and toxic came to mind! My last post I solidified this thought as I reflected on how somethings that I might have wanted to work out in the past, have served me much greater having not come to fruition. Anyone else find that?
But I think in the world we live in especially considering the world of #Entanglement I’m wondering where does the toxic in a person really stem from before it becomes a relationship trait? Is it me the self aware individual who might not like a certain behaviour who identifies another being as toxic or am I in fact the toxic one as I have identified a character trait in another person that I do not like…
I mean does anyone really know! There are so many layers and so many different circumstances that can equate to a toxic relationship, whether it’s romantic, family, friendly or professional – we all know of that horrible boss in the workplace, surely that is a toxic working relationship.
Whatever the scenario is, and however you have arrived there. I realised this and I suppose this is the most important part of what I have to say.
Sometimes a person leaves you on purpose for your greater purpose.A thought by TSO
And that’s really the most important thing to remember. Whether you are in a healthy state with a person or in a toxic one sometimes people leave you or leave them and ultimately it is to serve your greater purpose later down the line. When I look at my past I can clearly identify relationships that were toxic for me and can honestly admit to moments that I too acted in a toxic manner. But that’s the way life goes, you live and you learn. And sometimes those lessons come with the toughest blows and the lowest rock bottom but we get through them.
I wish I could say I have all the answers and the solution on how to avoid toxic relationships but that would be a lie. All I can share is 5 things I have found to help me when handling them. And this goes for all the above, dealing with the cheating ex, discouraging friends, naysayers and of course the family members that sometimes you just want to avoid, but cannot.
1.Be aware of yourself as an individual.
Figure out what your trigger points are. What are the things or situations that make you feel some type of way. We all have them. That one thing that creates a barrier in how you deal or cope with people or particular situations. It’s so important to know this not only for yourself but for those that love you too. The whole process of handling toxic relationships is to find a root cause and make sure you aren’t ever in one and if you do find yourself in one (it happens!) how to get out of it!
Case in point… Through dealing with my cheating ex – a story for another time! – I am now very aware of my trigger points when it comes to how my husband communicates with me. Not that he doesn’t communicate well with me, but because I can easily misunderstand what he says, as a result of my past. Does that make sense? So for the benefit of my marriage, that is something I am aware of and so is he. See, trigger point.
2. Do what serves you… with some caution.
Now this always seems to be a bit of an oxymoron for me. Simply because I am very much an advocate for making sure one does what serves them best. But what if what you want doesn’t serve the other person? How much do you persist on making things work in your way, and if you do pursue it, does it in turn make you the toxic one? Relationships are transactional at the end of the day, no matter the type. So yes, look out for you… but with a bit of caution.
3. Be accountable for yourself.
We all love to be the ones who can call out someone else’s negative traits. Or that thing someone has done that has introduced the word “toxic” into the scenario. But be accountable. Maybe, there is a trait in you that isn’t so great. If it was pointed out to you, would you be able to accept it and try to work on it?
4. Find the things that bring you peace.
We are all different and we have all experienced life in different ways. Whatever your past taught you or traumas you faced you have to find a way to deal with what life throws at you in the way that brings you the most peace. Find a way to make sure that you always find joy in the little things. You’d be surprised how much peace cleaning my house can bring to my mental state after dealing with tough situations!
5. Find a way to forgive.
This counts for forgiving yourself and for the other person. Relationships in any capacity can be tough but it’s a two-way street. Sometimes it’s easy to identify when a person is toxic for you and when that relationship isn’t good for you. But that doesn’t always mean it’s easy to leave. Trust me, I know. And that’s okay too. Don’t be so hard on yourself for not taking what everyone is telling you is the easy way out, figure it out on your own terms and then make peace with it after. Once you forgive yourself, forgive the other person and move on. And when I say forgive them, I mean just call it a day and accept that some people can’t be changed and let them be. Forgiving them does’t mean you need to stick around and look after them, I mean that sounds like a problem for God to deal with!
All that to simply say, we’ve all been there and we may face more scenarios in the future that may be toxic or not serve us all well. But, hopefully we are better equipped to handle them and face what comes. I hope this serves as some encouragement to someone and a reminder that you are not alone. You can have a listen at my most recent podcast episode on this to give you a bit more context.